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Recent Ordinances In The Agriculture Sector

Recent Ordinances In The Agriculture Sector

Introduction

  • After the announcement of the landmark decisions by the Government of India for reforms in the agricultural sector for raising the income of the farmers as part of the ‘Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan, the President of India has promulgated the following Ordinances with the aim of giving a boost to rural India for farmers engaged in agriculture and allied activities.

Why Ordinances Were Released?

  • These ordinances were announced to facilitate trade in agricultural produce.
  • They were historically resisted by the bureaucracy and the states.
  • The ordinances were introduced rather than bills, because of,
    • Unreleased frustration at repeatedly failing to change the status quo of depressed farmer livelihoods, and
    • The pressure of the PMO seeking instant delivery
  • Bills would require to be placed in the public domain for comments, consultations would be held with farmers and states.

The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion & Facilitation) Ordinance 2020 

  • This Ordinance will provide for the creation of an ecosystem where the farmers and traders enjoy the freedom of choice relating to sale and purchase of farmers’ produce which facilitates remunerative prices through competitive alternative trading channels.
  • It will promote efficient, transparent and barrier-free inter–State and intra-State trade and commerce of farmers’ produce outside the physical premises of markets or deemed markets notified under various State agricultural produce market legislations.
  • Besides, the Ordinance will provide a facilitative framework for electronic trading and matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

Benefits of Ordinance   | Recent Ordinances In The Agriculture Sector

  • It proposes to set up a separate dispute resolution mechanism for the farmers.
  • It will create an ecosystem where the farmers and traders would enjoy freedom of choice of sale and purchase of agri-produce.
  • The ordinance also proposes an electronic trading in transaction platform for ensuring a seamless trade electronically.
  • It will also promote barrier-free inter-state and intra-state trade and commerce outside the physical premises of markets notified under State agricultural produce marketing legislations.

The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance 2020 

  • This ordinance will provide for a national framework on farming agreements that protects and empowers farmers to engage with agri- business firms, processors, wholesalers, exporters or large retailers for farm services and sale of future farming produce at a mutually agreed remunerative price framework in a fair and transparent manner and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

Benefits of Ordinance   | Recent Ordinances In The Agriculture Sector

  • Farmers have been provided adequate protection. Sale, lease or mortgage of farmers’ land is totally prohibited and farmers’ land is also protected against any recovery.
  • It empowers farmers for engaging with processors, wholesalers, aggregators,wholesalers, large retailers, exporters etc.and thus eliminating intermediaries resulting in full realization of price.
  • It contains mechanisms which would transfer the risk of market unpredictability from the farmer to the sponsor.
  • It also provides an effective dispute resolution mechanism for with clear timelines for redressal

Essential Commodities Act 1955

  • The ECA is an act which was established to ensure the delivery of certain commodities or products, the supply of which if obstructed owing to hoarding or black-marketing would affect the normal life of the people.
  • The ECA was enacted in 1955. This includes foodstuff, drugs, fuel (petroleum products) etc.
  • It has since been used by the Government to regulate the production, supply and distribution of a whole host of commodities it declares ‘essential’ in order to make them available to consumers at fair prices.
  • Additionally, the government can also fix the maximum retail price (MRP) of any packaged product that it declares an “essential commodity”.
  • The list of items under the Act includes drugs, fertilizers, pulses and edible oils, and petroleum and petroleum products.
  • The Centre can include new commodities as and when the need arises, and takes them off the list once the situation improves.

Conclusion | Recent Ordinances In The Agriculture Sector

  • These ordinances are expected to build necessary agrarian infrastructure in the country which are expected to resolve a number of issues of the agricultural sector.
  • It is considered as a visionary step towards transformation of agriculture and raising farmers’ income.

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